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Elinchrom ELB 1200 HS is Top for Action Photos in Bright Sun

Elinchrom ELB 1200 HS is Top for Action Photos in Bright Sun

Some months in the past, I did a velocity driving photoshoot with FriedeFly in the Swiss Alps. I used to be capable of check out some new stuff in the snow and managed to seize some very nice photographs. Through the shoot, I additionally performed round with my previous Jinbei DC II 600 V flash since I used to be fascinated by photographs of skiers made with flash that overpowers the solar.

Whereas utilizing the Jinbei in this harsh surroundings, I confronted plenty of issues. I’ve by no means appreciated the consumer interface, however in mountain snow it was even more durable to make use of. For some settings, it’s a must to press two small buttons directly, which by no means labored out for me — it all the time modified the fallacious setting. Moreover, it was a ache to get the triggers to work — they didn’t work correctly with out shifting them round on the digital camera connector and if you by accident touched a button they switched channels in order that you need to fiddle round one other 5 minutes to get them working once more.

However the primary drawback was that I simply didn’t have as a lot energy to mild up the velocity rider as I needed. The 600 Ws the place already quite a bit, however it was hardly noticeable throughout harsh daylight. This was once I started to look for a flash that matches my want.

My Necessities for the New System

  1. A minimum of 1200 Ws with Hello-Sync Mode
  2. As small and light-weight as potential for a 1200 Ws flash
  3. Constructed-In set off (with Hello-Sync) since I didn’t need to fiddle round with third-party triggers
  4. The set off ought to be capable of change the flash energy (and show it)
  5. Strong and climate resistant
  6. A usable modeling mild

Options and Why I Selected the ELB 1200

  • The smaller Elinchrom ELB 400 is far more light-weight however 400 Ws was simply not sufficient in the snow throughout brilliant daylight.
  • I thought-about a used Elinchrom Ranger RX however determined it is approach too heavy to go snowboarding with it (8kg/17.6lb battery, 2.5kg/5.5lb head). And it has no modeling mild and hi-sync will not be nearly as good (you want an exterior set off to make use of hi-sync).
  • An alternative choice can be to make use of two Godox AD600s (or Jinbei). It is about the identical weight, however I had no concept easy methods to match two of those monoblock units in my backpack. You even have to hold two tripods and two reflectors. Reflectors make an enormous distinction for the vary, however they’re fairly cumbersome to hold.
  • Broncolor Siros 800 L: I learn a variety of good critiques about it however was unsure if 800Ws was sufficient. It’s additionally fairly lengthy and I had no concept tips on how to match it in my bag. And I didn’t just like the monoblock design: the Jinbei HD II 600 V was already dangerous to deal with on a small mild stand and this was solely 2.5kg/5.5lb as an alternative of four.3kg (9.48lbs).
  • Broncolor Transfer 1200L is a bit bit heavier than the ELB (6.2kg the PowerPack solely) nevertheless it was simply not in my worth league.
  • The Jinbei DC II 1200 is about the identical weight (discovered inconsistent technical particulars, e.g. PowerPack: eight.2kg, PowerPack (with out Battery): three.4kg, Battery: 1.3kg). It has no climate sealing, a a lot darker modeling mild and clearly the identical dangerous consumer interface as my Jinbei DC II 600 V. Additionally you want an exterior set off to make use of HS.
  • The Profoto Professional-B4 is simply method too heavy with its 9.8kg (21.6lbs)

For me, the ELB 1200 combines all my necessities the most effective. It’s comparatively light-weight, has a tons energy, and has one of many brightest modeling lights available on the market, which you can too use for video (it has a fan that you would be able to change off). It additionally has a built-in set off with a big show which permits to vary numerous settings and in addition has a key-locking function so that you simply gained’t by accident change settings.

I’ll now examine the ELB 1200 to my Jinbei DC II 600 V.


In fact, the ELB 1200 has extra energy than the Jinbei, however I used to be additionally capable of management the facility far more exactly. The ELB has 1200 Ws which could be managed in steps of 1/10 (from 1200 Ws to 7 Ws). The Jinbei has 600Ws and may change the facility from 1/1 to 1/128 (from 600 Ws to four.7 Ws) in steps of 1/three. However in case you change the Jinbei to Hello-Sync Mode, it’s solely attainable to regulate the facility from 1/1 to 1/16.

Under is a photograph collection of the 2 models firing to a white wall (Jinbei in super-sync mode). On each flashes, I eliminated the reflector to make the facility output extra comparable. The digital camera was set to f/22 and ISO 50.

There are perhaps higher methods to match the flash output energy, however I don’t have any measuring devices and for me it was extra necessary to check the brightness with the digital camera that I’ll use in the sector.

It is nice that each units didn’t present a noticeable gradient when utilizing Hello-Sync at 1/4000 (my D750 doesn’t help 1/8000). Gradients can seem when utilizing Hello-Sync when the flash brightness falls off too shortly.

Each units appear to have roughly the identical brightness at 600 Ws (Half Energy of the ELB). However because the Jinbei has a barely narrower beam (see Image under), the ELB may be brighter however you gained’t see that mild on the wall in entrance. That is in all probability additionally the rationale why the ELB at full energy doesn’t look a lot brighter than the Jinbei at full energy.

Elinchrom Excessive-Efficiency Reflector

Together with the ELB 1200, I additionally received an Elinchrom Excessive-Efficiency Reflector. With the reflector, it’s attainable to throw the sunshine a lot farther, which might hopefully permit me to mild up a velocity rider. The reflector is very mild however slightly bit cumbersome. My first thought was: “how should I carry this thing while skiing?” I didn’t discover a reflector for the Jinbei (Bowens bayonet) that is that small and has the identical tight beam.

Under a brief comparability between the flash with no reflector, the usual reflector (90° 16cm) and the high-performance reflector (48° 26cm). As you possibly can see an excellent reflector will in all probability aid you greater than a flash with doubled energy.

Energy Measurement Retry

The very first thing I observed on my current energy output comparability was, that the ELB doesn’t look a lot brighter than the Jinbei. In fact, that doesn’t justify my expense so I needed to redo the check.

As I already came upon: the sunshine beams are very totally different, so my check was not likely comparable. Additionally, the colour temperature is totally different, making it troublesome for the attention to find out which one is brighter. So I repeated the check with each flashes and the Excessive-Efficiency reflector hooked up to it. The bayonet on the Jinbei is totally different so I used some tape to connect it. With the reflector hooked up the flashes are means too brilliant to make use of the identical settings as earlier than. So this time I used ISO 200 f/four.5 and an ND1000. Listed here are the outcomes:

The ELB 1200 is a small contact brighter at half energy (600 Ws) that the Jinbei DC 600 at Full Energy (additionally 600 Ws). I used the colour pipette to get the middle brightness.

Modeling Mild

Despite the fact that the Jinbei has a modeling mild, it was by no means usable because it has solely 5W and is not dimmable. Even indoors it was hardly usable when the sunshine was on. In distinction, the Elinchrom has a really shiny 50W LED Daylight CRI 92, which is dimmable. The sunshine output is Equal to 250 W halogen (4000 Lumens), which was even so much brighter than my regular ceiling lights.

With the high-performance reflector, it is even attainable to make use of the sunshine outside in the tough solar as a fill mild for video.

Battery Life

Throughout a check in quick mode (quicker recycle time) and at full energy, I obtained 223 flashes out of the ELB battery pack — seven flashes greater than Elinchrom guarantees with the usual battery. The usual/air battery is specified for 215 flashes (or 80 min of steady mild) and the bigger battery for 400 flashes (or 120 min of steady mild).

I didn’t check the battery lifetime of the Jinbei, however from my expertise, it matches the producer’s specification: it is spectacular that the battery is a lot smaller (half of the ELBs) however you will get 500 flashes out of it.

Recycle Time

The Elinchrom can recycle so much quicker than the Jinbei. Within the default velocity mode, the Jinbei recycles in four.5s and the ELB in three.0s. In quick mode, the Jinbei recycles in three.5s and the ELB in just one.7s. Contemplating that the ELB has 1200 Ws, this is actually spectacular.

Steady Capturing

With the Jinbei it was attainable to flash constantly at 1/16 (37.5 Ws) of the facility on the most steady price of my D750 (6.5 photographs per second). Nevertheless, with the super-sync mode on, steady capturing was not potential anymore, not even at 1 image per second!

With the ELB it was potential to shoot at three.5 (75Ws) at 6.5 footage per second and at four.7 (180Ws) at three footage per second.

Consumer Interface

One factor I all the time hated with the Jinbei is that should you flip down the facility, it doesn’t discharge its capacitors — as an alternative, it flashes! This is typically fairly painful when after energy on it is nonetheless at full energy, you need to flip it down and it flashes instantly into your eyes with full energy.

I actually just like the backlight of the buttons and the show of the Skyport. Sadly, the buttons on the ELB will not be backlit, however they glow whenever you mild them up earlier (fluorescence).

One drawback for the Jinbei is that you must carry an exterior set off: another system that you must join with a cable and care about its battery. Moreover, it was not attainable to regulate the facility with the third-party set off, so should you additionally need to management the facility you even have to hold the unique non-Hello-Sync set off.

Due to the Jinbei’s mono-block design and a display-less set off, if you wish to change some settings or want to know the facility setting, you must convey the sunshine stand down to take a look at the show.

The consumer interface of the Jinbei could be a ache. If you wish to allow super-sync mode you need to press two buttons directly. It by no means labored for me as a result of I in all probability didn’t hit them precisely on the similar time, so I all the time modified totally different settings.

Excessive-Velocity Sync

The Jinbei has one cool function: It has a devoted tremendous sync mode! Usually the flash period is very quick, however with the change of a setting, you possibly can change it to a sluggish flash period for Hello-Sync. Nevertheless, in the super-sync mode, you possibly can management the facility solely from 1/1 – 1/16 and steady capturing is not attainable anymore.

Elinchrom has a special strategy to Hello-Sync. You should purchase totally different flash heads that fit your wants. The Hello-Sync head with a sluggish flash period, the Action Head with the shortest flash period and a Professional Head which presents a stability between Action and Hello-Sync. If you need a special flash period, you need to pay one other head.

Construct High quality

The construct high quality of the Jinbei is fairly good, it is nice should you contemplate its worth. Although I by no means actually favored the small buttons. Additionally, it is in fact not weather-resistant.

The construct high quality of the ELB is in one other league. It is weather-resistant and the battery is double secured. Additionally, I favored the bag that is included with the ELB. It is made strong but in addition very heavy for a bag. A whole lot of spacers and straps are included to hold the bag. Additional Elinchrom features a case to lock the facility pack to a light-weight stand.

Measurement and Weight

In comparison with the Jinbei (27x13x20cm at 2.5kg with battery) the Elinchrom unit is fairly heavy (four.3kg PowerPack plus 2.2kg Head). With the bigger battery, the PowerPack is four.7kg. Nevertheless for a 1200 Ws gadget, the Elinchrom is actually small (PowerPack: 18 x 13 x 28 cm, Head: 22.5x14x23cm), it is the smallest unit I discovered available on the market.

One of many issues I actually like is the very fact how small the battery pack of ELB 1200 actually is (for a 1200Ws flash). It was even attainable to suit it in my backpack along with my Nikon D750, a 14-24mm and a 24-120mm. Solely the Excessive-Efficiency reflector was a bit cumbersome, which I needed to strap to the again. It is very mild so it doesn’t matter whereas driving, however you must watch out when getting into a chairlift or gondola.

In fact, the Jinbei was even smaller and simpler to pack, e.g. it was additionally attainable to hold my DJI Mavic contained in the backpack… however if you need 1200Ws you’ll be able to’t have all of it.

What I Did Not Like

The buttons underneath the deal with bar are usually not positioned very user-friendly. Additionally after powering on, the unit can mechanically use the A-Port, which means you don’t should press one of many buttons on each power-on.

The AF mild of the Skyport is actually darkish, in comparison with the triggers of the Yognou triggers that I used with the Jinbei.

One suggestion for enchancment: It might be good if the deal with of the battery pack and the top can be detachable, it will save plenty of area. A smaller or detachable mild stand mount would even be good.


In case you don’t want 1200W I might think about switching to Godox which even have good triggers now, on which may change the facility setting on a show – one factor I missed on the Jinbei probably the most. I used the small 200W Godox flashes throughout a shoot and in addition favored their consumer interface.

Nevertheless, in my opinion, the ELB 1200 is the most effective and most versatile gadget for motion images in very brilliant daylight. After half a yr of utilizing it throughout numerous shoots, I’m nonetheless glad with my choice. The flash distance with the high-performance reflector is superior and the flash is a pleasure to make use of. Each time I used it I had no struggles to set it up and I can rely on its reliability for the subsequent years.

Concerning the writer: Carsten E. Nagel is a photographer based mostly in Germany. The opinions expressed in this text are solely these of the writer. You’ll find extra of his work on his web site, Fb, and 500px. This text was additionally revealed right here.

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